Forcing TAP to sell assets ‘insulting’ – Union

  • Lusa
  • 24 December 2021

The Portuguese Aviation and Airport (SITAVA) said on Thursday that "it seems clear that the European bodies only approved such a plan after the government had given in to all their demands".

The Portuguese Aviation and Airport Workers’ Union (Sitava) said the decision to “force” TAP to sell companies or part of them was “insulting” after the European Commission imposed the divestments in the restructuring plan.

In a statement, the union began by saying that “it seems clear that the European bodies only approved such a plan after the Portuguese government had given in to all their demands”.

“As was to be expected, everyone is now quick to call this news a ‘great victory’, and even some commentators who previously predicted more cuts and redundancies are now praising the European Union, the government and its extraordinary work,” the statement read.

“But after all this time of waiting, in which the European Union imposed its insolent silence, is the approval of the restructuring plan a victory or not, and if so, whose victory?”, Sitava asked.

“The answer seems obvious to us. If this approval is considered a victory, then it goes straight to the workers who have already paid, and are still paying, a very high price in jobs destroyed, and in violent and unfair cuts in their incomes”, the union said.

Sitava then addressed the sale of company shares. “What about the insulting decision to force TAP to sell companies or part of them? What right does a general direction of the European Union have, which is the highest exponent of neoliberalism in Europe, to order a sovereign state to sell its strategic business assets to foreigners?” the union asked.

“It is evident to Sitava that if the government was not ‘the well-behaved pupil’ for Brussels, and if it was willing to defend national sovereignty, it would, at the very least, have made vehement protests, as was its obligation,” the same note reads.

The union said that “in this regard, much ‘water will still pass under the bridge’ and Sitava will be here, as it always has been, to fight for the rights of workers, the country and the national economy”.

On Tuesday, the European Commission said that it had approved TAP’s restructuring plan and state aid of €2.55 billion, requiring the airline to reçease up to 18 slots a day at Lisbon airport.

The plan “sets out a package of measures to streamline TAP’s operations and reduce costs,” namely the division of activities between, on the one hand, TAP Air Portugal and Portugalia (which will be supported and restructured), and on the other hand the disposal of “non-core assets” such as subsidiaries in adjacent activities of maintenance (in Brazil) and catering and ground handling (which is provided by Groundforce).”